Missed marketing opportunity

Oh, those funny folks at Honda! They’re doing a good job of keeping in touch with me, long-time Honda owner that I am. But their enthusiasm for selling me a new car always seems to overtake their good sense.

I bought a 2009 Honda Civic last year, and I’m happy with it. But one of the first pieces of mail they sent me after the purchase was a flyer promoting their new 2010 models.

Today, they sent me an e-mail. Surprise! It recognized that I am celebrating the one-year anniversary of my purchase.

“We appreciate your loyalty to our dealership and invite you to take advantage of the coupon below,” the note said. I wondered if my “owner loyalty certificate” would cover a free oil change, or maybe a half-price car detailing. No, it was $500 to use on my next vehicle purchase.

In small print was the note that the coupon expired within 30 days.

I guess despite the fact that I kept my last Honda for 10 years, having my newest car turn one year old means it’s time to get rid of it.

What I learned from my correspondence from Honda is that it’s not enough to know a few things about your customer. You have to pull together all the pieces of information you have on your customer — remembering to find and include the information held by other departments in your company (hello, Sales? meet Service). Did she just buy a car a month ago? Then there’s probably no reason to send her news about the latest model. Did she keep her last car for 10 years? Then a promised discount to buy a new car after just one year is not likely an incentive.

If you don’t make the connections, then you’re just wasting your time.